The Way To Out Is In || Inner Engineering

The Way To Out Is In

Everything you have done in your life so far has been in pursuit of a single thing. Whether you sought a career, started a business, made money, or built a family, it was always because you wanted just one simple thing: joy. 

But somewhere along the way, life got complicated. 

If you had been born as any other creature on this planet, it would have been very simple. Your needs would have just been physical. A full stomach would have been equivalent to a great day. Take a look at your dog or your cat: the moment their stomach is full, they are quite peaceful. 

But when you come into this world as a human being, things change. An empty stomach is one problem: hunger. But a full stomach? A hundred problems! When our survival is in question, it is a big issue in our lives. But the moment it is taken care of, it doesn’t seem to mean anything. Somehow, for a human being, life doesn’t seem to end with survival; life begins with survival. 

Today, as a generation of people, our survival process is better organized than ever before. You can go to a supermarket and buy everything you need for the entire year. You can do it without even stepping out of your home! Never before in the history of humanity has such a thing been possible. Things that even royalty could not afford a hundred years ago are accessible to the average citizen. We are the most comfortable generation to have ever lived on this planet. The rub is that we are definitely not the most joyful, or the most loving, or the most peaceful. 

Why is this so? We have tried our best to fix the outside environment. If we fix it any more, there will be no planet left! But we are still no happier than our ancestors a thousand years ago. If it is not working, isn’t it time to look at what’s wrong? How can we continue to do something that has not worked for a thousand years? How much longer are we going to live with blueprints that clearly haven’t delivered their promise? 

It is time for a paradigm shift. 

Let us start with a single question: what do we consider to be a state of wellbeing? 

Very simply, well-being is just a deep sense of pleasantness within. If your body feels pleasant, we call this health. If it becomes very pleasant, we call this pleasure. If your mind becomes pleasant, we call this peace. If it becomes very pleasant, we call this joy. If your emotions become pleasant, we call this love. If they become very pleasant, we call this compassion. If your life energies become pleasant, we call this bliss. If they become very pleasant, we call this ecstasy. This is all that you are seeking: pleasantness within and without. When pleasantness is within, it is termed peace, joy, happiness. When your surroundings become pleasant, it gets branded success. If you’re not interested in any of this and want to go to heaven, what are you seeking? Just otherworldly success! So, essentially all human experience is only a question of pleasantness and unpleasantness in varying degrees. 

But how many times in your life have you lived an entire day blissfully— without a single moment of anxiety, agitation, irritation, or stress? How many times have you lived in utter and absolute pleasantness for twenty-four hours? When was the last time it happened to you? 

The amazing thing is that for most people on this planet, not a single day has happened exactly the way they want it! Of course, there is no one who has not experienced joy, peace, even bliss, but it is always fleeting. They are unable to sustain it. They manage to get there, but it keeps collapsing. And nothing earthshattering needs to happen for it to collapse. The simplest things throw people off balance, out of kilter. 

It is like this. You go out today and someone tells you that you are the most beautiful person in the world: you’re floating on cloud nine. But then you come home, and the folks at home tell you who you really are: everything crashes! 

Sound familiar? 

Why do you need to be pleasant within? The answer is self-evident. When you are in a pleasant inner state, you are naturally pleasant to everyone and everything around you. No scripture or philosophy is needed to instruct you to be good to others. It is a natural outcome when you are feeling good within yourself. Inner pleasantness is a surefire insurance for the making of a peaceful society and a joyful world. 

Besides, your success in the world depends essentially on how well you harness the prowess of the body and mind. So, in order to achieve success, pleasantness has to be the fundamental quality within you. 

Above all, there is substantial medical and scientific evidence today that your body and mind function at their best when you are in a pleasant state. It is said that if you can remain blissful for twenty-four hours, your intellectual capabilities can be almost doubled. Just settling the internal muddle and allowing clarity to surface can achieve this. 

Now, the same life energy that you refer to as “myself” has sometimes been very happy, sometimes miserable, sometimes peaceful, sometimes in turmoil. The same life energy is capable of all those states. So, if you were given a choice about the kind of expression your life energies should find, what would you choose? Joy or misery? Pleasantness or unpleasantness? 

The answer is self-evident. The ways may vary from person to person. But whether you’re trying to make money, hitting the bottle, or attempting to get to heaven, pleasantness is the only goal. Even if you say you are not interested in this world and your mission in life is only to get to heaven, you’re still only searching for pleasantness. If people had told you since your childhood that God lives in heaven, but heaven is a horrendous place, would you want to go there? Definitely not! Essentially, the highest level of pleasantness is heaven; unpleasantness is hell. So, some think it’s in the wine, and others think it’s in the divine, but pleasantness is what everyone’s seeking. 

The only thing that stands between you and your well-being is a simple fact: you have allowed your thoughts and emotions to take instruction from the outside rather than the inside. 

On a certain day, a lady went to sleep. In her sleep, she had a dream. She saw a hunk of a man, staring at her. Then he started coming closer—closer and closer. 

He was so close that she could even feel his breath. 

She trembled—not in fear. 

Then she asked, “What will you do to me?” 

The man said, “Well, lady, it’s your dream!” 

What’s happening in your head is your dream. At least your dream should happen the way you want it, shouldn’t it? Even if the world doesn’t happen the way you want it, at least your thoughts and emotions should happen the way you want them to. Right now, these aren’t taking instructions from you because you are handling the whole human mechanism accidentally. 

The human mechanism is the most sophisticated physical form on the planet. You are the greatest piece of technology, but the problem is you don’t know where the keyboard is. It’s like you’re handling a supercomputer with a pickaxe and a wrench! As a result, the simple life process is taking a toll upon humanity. Just to earn a living, to reproduce, to raise a family, and then one day to fall dead —what a challenge! It is amazing how human beings struggle just to do what every worm, insect, bird, and animal does quite effortlessly. 

Put simply, our inner ecology is a mess. Somehow we think that fixing outer conditions will make everything okay on the inside. But these past 150 years are proof that technology will only bring comfort and convenience to us, not wellbeing. We need to understand that unless we do the right things, the right things will not happen to us: this is true not just of the outside world, but also the inside. 

On a certain day, a bull and a pheasant were grazing on a field.

The bull was grazing and the pheasant was picking ticks off the bull—a perfect partnership. Looking at the huge tree at the edge of the field, the pheasant said, “Alas, there was a time I could fly to the topmost branch of the tree. Now I do not have enough strength in my wing to even get to the first branch.” The bull said nonchalantly, “Just eat a little bit of my dung every day, and watch what happens. Within two weeks, you’ll get to the top.” 

The pheasant said, “Oh come on, that’s rubbish. What kind of nonsense is that?” 

The bull said, “Try it and see. The whole of humanity is onto it.” 

Very hesitantly, the pheasant started pecking. And lo, on the very first day, he reached the first branch. Within a fortnight, he had reached the topmost branch. He sat there, just beginning to enjoy the scenery. 

The old farmer, rocking on his rocking chair, saw a fat old pheasant on top of the tree. He pulled out his shotgun and shot the bird off the tree. 

Moral of the story: bullshit may get you to the top, but it never lets you stay there! 

So, you can bullshit yourself into all kinds of emotional states, you can somehow crank up some well-being for yourself, but the problem is, it doesn’t last. The weather could bring it down. The stock market could make it come crashing down. And even if it does not collapse, living in anticipation that it might is bad enough! The impending possibility that it will fall apart one day is torture—often worse than the actual disaster. So, as long as your inner life is enslaved to external situations, it will remain a precarious condition. There is no other way for it to be. 

What then is the way out? 

The way out is a very simple change in direction. You just need to see that the source and basis of your experience is within you. Human experience may be stimulated or catalyzed by external situations, but the source is within. Pain or pleasure, joy or misery, agony or ecstasy, happens only inside you. Human folly is that people are always trying to extract joy from the outside. You may use the outside as a stimulus or trigger, but the real thing always comes from within. 

Right now, you are holding a book. Where do you see the book? Use your finger and point to where you see it. Do you think the image is outside you? 

Think again. 

You remember how it works? The light is falling upon the book, reflecting, going into the lens of your eyes, and projected as an inverted image on your retina—you know the whole story. So, you are actually seeing the book within yourself. 

Where do you see the whole world? 

Again, within yourself. 

Everything that ever happened to you, you experienced right within you. Light and darkness, pain and pleasure, agony and ecstasy—all of it happened within you. If someone touches your hand right now, you may think you are experiencing their hand, but the fact of the matter is you are only experiencing the sensations in your own hand. The whole experience is contained within. All human experience is one hundred percent self-created. 

If your thought and your emotion are of your making, you can mold them any way you like. There is scientific proof today that without ingesting a drop of alcohol or any other substance, you can get fully intoxicated by yourself. An Israeli organic chemist, Raphael Mechoulam, and his research team initiated a project that eventually isolated a “bliss molecule” in the human system. In lay terms, they discovered that the human brain has natural cannabis receptors. Why is this so? They found that this is simply because the body is capable of producing its own narcotic. It can manufacture its own bliss with no external stimulus—and that too, with no hangover! The reason why certain chemical substances, like alcohol and recreational drugs, are dangerous is because they can reduce your awareness, ruin your health, create addictions, and destroy you. But here is a bliss narcotic that is created and consumed by your own system— and which has a tremendous impact on health and well-being! It means that the human system is wonderfully self-contained. Other similar chemicals have been discovered more recently as well, but this particular chemical has been named “anandamide,” based on the Sanskrit word ananda, which means bliss. We can infer from this that happiness is just a certain kind of chemistry. Peace is another kind of chemistry. In fact, every kind of pleasantness that we experience— whether peace or joy or ecstasy—is a kind of chemistry. The yogic system has always known this. 

There is a technology for inner well-being—for creating a chemical basis for a blissful existence. This is one dimension of what I call “Inner Engineering.” If you are aware, you can activate your system in such a way that simply breathing is an enormous pleasure. All it takes is a willingness to pay a little attention to the inner mechanism. 

This is the fundamental shift in understanding that has to happen. Do not look for a way out of misery. Do not look for a way out of suffering. There is only one way—and that is in. 

Most people think peace and joy are the goals of the spiritual life. This is a fallacy. Peace and joy are the basic requirements for a life of well-being. If you want to enjoy your dinner tonight, you must be peaceful and happy. If you want to enjoy your family, the work that you do, the world that you live in, you must be peaceful and happy. Peace and joy are not things you attain at the end of life. They are the basis of your life. If you consider peace to be the ultimate goal, you will only “rest in peace”! 

The word “spirituality” is one of the most corrupted words on the planet. Don’t walk the spiritual path for peace. It is because most people are so deprived of peace that they consider it to be the ultimate aspiration. When I was in Tel Aviv some years ago, I was told that shalom was the highest form of greeting possible. I asked why. “Because it means peace,” I was told. I said, “Why would peace be the highest aspiration unless you’re in the Middle East?” 

If you were on a desert island without food for ten days and suddenly God appeared before you, would you want Him to appear as a shining light or in the form of bread? In India certain communities worship food as God because they have been deprived of food for a long time. In California, love is God! Whatever you feel deprived of looks like the highest aspiration. The thing to remember is that none of these will settle you in any enduring way. Human life is longing for unlimited expansion, and that is the only thing that will settle you for good. 

The spiritual quest is not a cultivated choice. It is not an induced quest. It is a natural longing. But unless you handle it consciously, it will not yield. When being peaceful, blissful, and joyous are not efforts anymore, you naturally start seeking, want to know the nature of life. Mysticism on this planet evolved only in those places where people learned the technology of being ecstatic by their own nature. This is because only when you are blissful will you be in the highest state of receptivity, and truly willing to explore all aspects of life. Otherwise, you would not dare, because if keeping yourself pleasant is a big challenge, you can’t take on other challenges. 

Once it happened…An eighty-five-year-old man went fishing in Louisiana. When he was just about to call it a day, he caught a frog. He was about to release it into the marsh again, when the frog spoke. “Just kiss me passionately,” it said, “and I will turn into a beautiful young woman.” 

The old man inspected the frog for a long time. The frog puckered up its lips in anticipation. Then the old man put the frog into his fish bag. 

The frog screamed, “Didn’t you hear me? Just one kiss and I will turn into a really beautiful young woman!” 

The old man said, “At my age, there’s not much I can do with a beautiful young woman. If kissing you could turn me into a handsome young prince, that would be different. But for now—a talking frog! Believe me, I can smell money!” 

Choices that you make out of inability are not life solutions. An inability to be joyful by your own nature can make the simplest issues in life seem like highly complex problems. Right now being peaceful and joyful is made out to be the most significant problem in human existence. In pursuit of human happiness, we are ripping the planet apart. 

The reason the simple things—like being peaceful, joyful, loving—have become ultimate aspirations is that people are living without paying any attention to the life process. When most people say “life,” they mean the accessories of life—their work, their family, their relationships, the homes they live in, the cars they drive, the clothes they wear, or the gods they pray to. The one thing they miss is life—the life process itself, the essential life that is you. The moment you make this fundamental mistake of identifying something that is not you as yourself, life becomes an unnecessary struggle. The foundations of peace and bliss are not about attending to the external realities of your life, but in accessing and organizing the inner nature of your being. 

You are capable of experiencing only that which is within the boundaries of your sensation. But if you throw the boundary of your sensation out in an expanded form, you can sit here and experience everyone as yourself. You can stretch it further and experience the very cosmos as you experience your own body. 

When this sense of inclusiveness happened to me, I understood that being loving and compassionate is not an idea. To live in empathy is not some esoteric principle. This is the way a human being is made. If you do not identify with anything you have accumulated over a period of time, including your body and mind, you will be able to experience this. 

Enlightenment is not an attainment or an achievement. It is a homecoming. Your senses give you the impression that you are experiencing the outside, but you have never experienced the outside. When you realize that all that you experience is within, that absolute homecoming is enlightenment. 

My life is just devoted to evolving methods so that people can experience this inclusiveness. If we truly have to create solutions that are relevant for all, an experience of absolute inclusiveness has to happen to humanity. And it is possible. 

The reason why everyone is not naturally enlightened is simply this: people have categorized the world into good and bad, God and Devil, high and low, sacred and filthy, pure and impure, heaven and hell. These are parallel lines that will never meet. 

Once you have fractured this existence within yourself, there is no way to reach a state of enduring well-being and freedom. You have been told to love your enemy. If you first label someone your enemy and then try to love him or her, it’s going to be torturous! Once you have fragmented creation like this, there is no way to arrive at a state of absolute inclusiveness. 

The problem is that human beings have lost a fundamental distinction— between inward and outward, between their way of being and the way they transact with the external world. Transactions are different, according to the nature of a situation or relationship. However remote or intimate, transactions are always governed by laws or norms. 

But when it comes to our inner nature, there is only one governing principle: borderless unity. Our physical and social worlds are governed by boundaries. Our inner world needs none. To attain the ecstasy of borderless unity, which is our natural state, all you need to do is live by the guideline that all human experience is generated from within—either with the support of external stimuli or without. That is all. If you establish this within yourself absolutely, the consequences of your transactions will no longer be burdensome. 

What do we mean by this? People often ask me, “Maybe this is possible for you as a yogi, but how can we who live in the ‘real world’ make our interactions free of friction?” I remind them that I don’t live in a cave. I also lead people. I am doing work around the world with over one million volunteers. This means they usually aren’t trained for the job they are doing—and you can’t fire them! Do you know how difficult it is to manage such a situation? By implication, my life should be the most burdensome! But you won’t ever see me distressed because my way of being is not in any way enslaved to what’s happening outside. This is not an otherworldly achievement. It is possible for everyone to live this way. 

If you still believe that someone “up there” is going to rescue you and solve all your problems, just remember that you are living on a round planet—and one that’s spinning. So, whenever you look up, you are obviously looking in the wrong direction! In this vast ever-expanding cosmos, what’s up and what’s down? You have no clue. Nowhere in the cosmos is it marked “This side up”! The only distinction you do know right now is “within” and “without” (although, for the yogi, even this distinction has vanished). 

Thousands of years ago, a yogi appeared in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. He came to be known as Adiyogi, the first yogi. And it was he who bequeathed the science of yoga to seven disciples, who later carried it around the world. What he imparted to these disciples was an unimaginably profound system of self-exploration and transformation, based on the radical premise that it is possible for a human being to evolve consciously. Unlike biological evolution, which happens without our conscious participation, spiritual evolution can happen consciously. All it takes, Adiyogi told us, is willingness. 

If we were to distill the essence of his wisdom in a few lines, it would be just this. Up and down, good and bad, sacred and profane: these are all assumed. But inward and outward: this is the one context we are sure of, the one context we can work with. This is Adiyogi’s most significant contribution to humankind and it is a profound and enduring one: “The only way out is in.” 

Once it happened…Someone came looking for the Isha Yoga Center in southern India. They came to a nearby village and asked a local boy, “How far is the Isha Yoga Center?” 

The boy scratched his head and said, “24,996 miles.” 

The man was aghast. “What? That far?” 

The boy said, “Yes, the way you’re going. But if you turn around, it’s just four miles.” 

If you go outward, it is an endless journey. If you turn inward, it is just one moment. In that one moment, everything changes. 

In that one moment, you are not in pursuit of joy anymore. Instead, your life becomes an expression of your joyfulness.



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